Sabbir – a 21-year-old victim of the horrific explosion at a Narayanganj mosque that has claimed at least 18 lives so far –pleaded with his father for water before succumbing to his injuries on Saturday.
The ill-fated young man was admitted to the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka for treatment, and the doctor had barred him from drinking water due to medical reasons.
"Please, father, give me a drop of water. I cannot bear the thirst any longer. The doctor is refusing to let me drink water. Give me a drop even if you have to steal it. I don't want to suffer any longer," were Sabbir's final words to his father.
Sabbir's father Nur Uddin – with tears in his eyes and profound grief in his voice – told The Business Standard, "Sabbir continued to plead with me for water as he lay dying of his injuries at the hospital bed. I could not give him any water, because the doctor had told me not to.
"My eldest son Sabbir, second son Jubayer and youngest son Yasin went to the Baitus Salat Jame Masjid for Isha prayers on Friday. Yasin left the mosque before the explosion took place. But Sabbir and Jubayer could not leave in time. They both became victims."
Nur continued, "I have a small job at the Narayanganj Press Club. The little money I make, I use it to bear my family's expenses and pay tuition fees of my three sons. Sabbir was a degree-level student at Narayanganj Degree College, while Jubayer studied at the HSC level at Tolaram College.
"People usually encourage their sons to perform Namaz. But my sons performed their prayers of their own volition. They lost their lives while performing Namaz," he lamented.
Jonayed, a 17-year-old Madrasa student, came home from Cumilla to spend time with his father in Narayanganj, after his educational institution was declared shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
His father Delwar Hossain served as the Muezzin of the ill-fated mosque in Fatullah, said Abu Talha, a relative of the victims. The young man, along with his father, burned to death following the gruesome incident on Friday.
Meanwhile, countless families and friends of the injured and deceased victims have been flocking to the burn unit of the facility. The air at the unit is heavy with the loud lament of the visitors. Some have lost their only sons, wives have lost their husbands, and many have lost their fathers.
Shamim Hassan used to work at the Narayanganj DC Office. He regularly attended prayers at the Baitus Salat Jame Masjid. His younger brother Omar Faruk said, "Shamim suffered 60% burns on his entire body. He is hanging on to his life by a thread.
"He is currently unable to speak. Please keep my brother in your prayers, so that Almighty Allah helps him recover from his injuries."
Around 150 people were attending the prayers when the incident took place on Friday at around 8:45pm. The explosion, triggered by a gas leak, swiftly ripped through the mosque, leaving the faithful bewildered and wondering whether doomsday had arrived.
All six ACs exploded at the same time and glass from the windows was shattered in the blast.
Later, 38 burn victims were admitted to the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka. Till the filing of this report, 18 of the victims have died of their injuries, and the condition of the remaining victims remains critical.
Hospital sources said among the survivors, all victims, excluding five people, are suffering from over 60% of burns on their bodies.
Among the deceased victims are –Rifat, 18, Mostafa Kamal, 34, Jubayer, 18, his bother Sabbir, 21, Kuddus Bapari, 72, Humayun Kabir, 70, Ibrahim, 43, Muajjin Delwar Hossain, 48, his son Jonayed, 17, Jamal, 40, Jubayed, 7, Rashed, 30, Kachan Hawladar, 40, Joynal Abedin, 38, Nayon, 27, and Moinuddin, 12.